Monday, November 19, 2007

Sept-Nov Pages

I have 3 month's worth of pages to share. This first one is September, and is my interpretation of the view to my neighbor's house. This was a fun page to do, and I wanted to capture the bright colors that inspired me to bead this .

October is in memory of my mother-in-law, Shorrie. After she died, several years ago, I was given a bag of some odds and ends that were hers. I recently looked through the bag, and decided to use some of the items for a journal page. The stones had been glued on to a bracelet and had fallen off. The pins are - top - a 10lb weight loss pin from Weight Watchers. She was a life member and probably had a lot more of these pins somewhere. The pin on the right is a life member pin for Hadassah, a Jewish women's organization. And the final pin is (I think) a nursing pin, although it has an anchor on it, so I'm not sure (if anyone knows what this is, please tell me). Above the nursing pin is a ring with a little glittery chip. I included that to represent love and marriage. Family was everything to my mother in law. I have included her initial, "S" on the bottom.

And finally, November. What can I say about this page? It represents Depression, an insidious and unwelcome disease that plagues me. I ran out of black thread (just my luck!)and decided to just leave it as it was.

Trip to Arizona

I went to visit my mother and sister's in Arizona a few weeks ago. They live in Scottsdale and Anthem . I had a wonderful visit. This first photo is at a restaurant called Orange. It is a very funky place and has delicious food.Here is a picture of my mother, resting on a bench during an art fair. She was still recuperating from foot surgery and could only do a little walking. So instead of looking at the art (which was great) she got to people watch, another kind of art in and of itself.
Here are my sisters, Sharon, on the left, and Toby, on the right. They are both wearing earrings that I made but you can only see Toby's. They are a design from a bead and button issue and very fun to make. She flattered me by wearing them because this girl is into Diamonds!
And finally, I had a pedicure, and the reason I took this photo of my now nice feet is because inside the white flower is a sparkly Swarovski flatback crystal!!! How cool is that?
I also visited 2 bead stores, Scottsdale Bead Supply and Bead World. SBS used to be in an old adobe house, crowded with all kinds of treasures. It had a personality and was fun to shop at. They have now moved into a large, brand new building with absolutely no character and no appeal (My personal opinion only). Bead World is a store in a shopping center, long and rectangular, but friendly and welcoming, plus the staff was delightful. I would go back there in a heartbeat.

Storing my Beads

I work on a portable bead tray, since I don't have a designated place to bead. I often sit in the living room on one of the chairs or the couch, at the kitchen table, or downstairs in the basement. I see I have a lot of beads here, but don't really see any projects, just a beaded bead I'm trying to figure out how to make.
I store my seed beads in the front hall closet (which I converted to a "crafts" closet years ago). I store size 11 beads by color, then put all triangles, 8's, 15's, and delicas in their own bin drawer.
I recently moved my beads to one of my son's bedrooms. He is away at college and rarely comes home. As a matter of fact, it took him several hours to realize that something was "different" about his room. Since I'm only using a corner, things are still pretty crowded. The top photo shows some storage of beads and several containers of unfinished projects. I also have a huge bin of unfinished projects, a little embarrassing....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Taking a Walk

I was walking this morning and appreciating the color in some of the trees. Yellow and red stood out against the blue sky. In Michigan, the blue sky usually disappears by 11 am, but today it blessed us with its presence. I thought how beautiful the trees were, and how it is strange that they are at their most beautiful just before they die. So vibrant, so full of energy. They reminded me of the sometimes lucid and alert period that a person often goes through just before they die. And how that few minutes is often such a gift to the family, because that's what they remember. So, as we enter the winter season, one I dread because the trees have shed their leaves and look like skeletons, and because the sky is gray all the time, I will remember this walk and the beauty of the color and hold it with me through the long months.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's been a long time....

It's been a full month since I posted. I have my September and October journal pages done, but November is turning into a challenge. I can't seem to motivate myself, or decide on anything - fabric vs. stiff stuff, one set of colors vs. another set. Every time I start I don't like what I do. So I am just waiting for a sign, an image, a light.

I have moved my beads into one of my son's bedroom. He was pretty surprised when he came home from school for a weekend and saw half his room filled with my beads. But he's not home a lot, just an occasional weekend, and I really need a place to call my own for my beads. Of course, moving them meant total reorganization, and I'm still not done. Maybe that's what's gotten in my way, that everything is different and not comfortable yet. Plus, I can't decide between storing beads in flippies (fliptop containers) or plastic bags. Seems like such a silly thing, but it makes a difference in the amount of space they take up and how I see the beads.

Friday, October 12, 2007

bead retreat '07

This past weekend I went on the 4th bead retreat with my beading group. One of the women has a cottage on Crooked Lake, near Petoskey, Michigan. As you can see, the view is lovely, and the beading lots of fun. We spread out all our stuff everywhere! We bead, we knit, we laugh, we eat, and have a great time. In the picture on the left is Kathie beaming in the red jacket and Wendy seriously into her work. The colorful dolls are "Dottee doll," which I found on another blog and fell in love with the idea. I made one for each of the women on the retreat. They were going to be my October journal page, until I reviewed the rules and realized I could not manage to either make them the same size or general shape as my mandalas. So, I'll just make them anyway and have more memories of the weekend.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

next mandala

A little while ago I was sitting on the front porch. Today is a magnificent day, temp in the mid-70's, a breeze, not a cloud in the blue sky, and the trees are full of leaves. All of a sudden I run inside and grab my box of blue beads. Surely there must be a blue that matches the sky. And then the green beads box to match up the leaves. Then I notice the daisies peeking out behind a tree, yellow-orange beads. Some kind of purple flower is up against the daisies, the purple bead box. I have my mandala for Sept! The beautiful colors of nature. And Sept. is just a few days away, I'm so excited.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

new seed beads

I found these seed beads at a LBS, Toho 2204, raspberry lined olivine. They are gorgeous! It's my new favorite color. It's like a watermelon, green on the outside, bright pink on the inside. The olivine has a brushed matte finish, and the raspberry seems to be opaque and shiny. Who knew one could get so excited about a color?!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

better photos of mandalas

I have better photos of my mandalas (well, cropped better) that I wanted to show. I didn't want to delete my previous post with the mandalas because there were comments. Everything I do on this blog is a new experience...

The top mandala is June, then July, then August. Thanks for your patience!

Friday, August 24, 2007

class with Sherry Serafini

Last weekend I took a class with Sherry Serafini. Sherry creates the most gorgeous bead embroidery bracelets, collars, earrings, and brooches. But more than the beauty of her work, she is the nicest person. She radiates interest in you, your work, your abilities. Over and over again I saw her talk with people who were stuck or unsure of themselves, gently supporting them yet pushing them to be comfortable outside their usual level. She taught a group of very experienced beaders, so it wasn't the beading that was uncomfortable for people, more it was the freeform nature of how she works, the lack of coloring in the lines, starting in the center and working out rather than having the whole piece planned. Since starting in the center and working out is similar to the mandalas I draw, I was in my comfort zone, but what surprised me is that my piece became very symmetrical and even looking, which is totally contrary to how I usually work, so in that case I was outside my comfort zone. And still am! It's just so fun to learn new things, to spend 2 days with a great group of beaders, and to be in the presence of true creativity and inspiration.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

3 Mandalas

Here are my first three mandalas. The one immediately above this writing is June.
In the center is July,
and at the top is August.

Backwards, upside down, just like my yin-yang mandala, just like me and my life sometimes. As long as I have water I can float and I know I'll be okay.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Struggling with theme for August

I have been struggling this month for the theme of my journal page. To me, a theme, although not necessarily a design, is helpful. But August is a difficult month, with a lot of negative associations, and so thinking about a theme has been hard. I've journaled about it in writing, talked about it with friends, gone to bed every night thinking about my journal page. Then today, I believe everything came together, and when it did, it was effortless, it just flowed into my mind, I picked out beads, got my fabric, and am set to go. It's funny how things work out. I guess I just needed the time, and in doing so sorted out a lot of issues, put them in perspective, and started to move on.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

embroidery on beading

Today I finished a project (almost) that is embroidery on beads, you could say. I made a bracelet out of size 6 triangles and then made a design on top. The pendant, on the left, is a strip of odd count peyote also made from the triangles, and folded over on the back so I can put a strap through it. I haven't decided if I should put the picots on the edge of the pendant or not.

Monday, July 30, 2007

strap completed

I went ahead and made a strap for my rivoli necklace. It's a spiral using 8 triangles and 11 seed beads. I wanted something that would complement the rivoli's but not overpower them, and I think this strap accomplishes that. In between bead journal pages I am working to complete unfinished projects. I had an embarrassingly high number of projects, which I am making a serious dent in. My goal is not to start a new project unless it is a class. Also, I spent several hours last week organizing beads, and as much as I love buying beads, I think it is safe to say that I won't ever need new beads...wanting them is a different story!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

ideas needed!

Help! I need ideas for a strap for this necklace. I thought I would work off the triangle shaped rivoli. I don't know if I should go with something funky to shake it up a bit, or something simple that will show off the rivolis, or any suggestions are welcome! Thanks.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Remembering Dad

Today is the 9th anniversary of my father's death. As time goes by, the pain is less, but I miss him every day. He was only 64 when he died, way too young. He died 2 weeks after my father-in-law, it was truly a terrible summer. It was a stormy summer, and several trees on our property fell over or were uprooted, which I have always felt represented their deaths. My father was a wonderful dad, calm, patient, a good listener. My mother, sisters, and myself have experienced his death in different ways, but we all wish he was still a part of our lives, watching his grandsons grow up, providing love and advice, being an anchor in the storm. Here's remembering you, dad...George Arthur Kolovson, beloved father.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Speaking of water colors, I have a few beaded pieces that remind me of the ocean.

Another spiral necklace. You can see that I like turquoise. I find it a very soothing yet stimulating color. Also, I'm a pisces, and I love water, so I feel attracted to water colors.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tagged by Freebird

I just noticed that I was tagged by Freebird a few days ago to answer some questions. But I'm going to be a party pooper, because I don't like the questions, so I'm just going to answer what I want. Five things to do before I die: Well, I want to finish all my bead projects, I want to have grandchildren, I want to lose enough weight so that my wedding ring will fit me again, and I want to enjoy my friends and family.

Five things that attract me to the opposite sex: I like men who listen and look at me while I'm talking, who have interests outside of work, who can tell a good joke (because I can't), and who do what they say they are going to do.

Five celebrity crushes: John Cusack - I think he's a great actor, Meryl Streep - she is like a chameleon, she becomes whatever role she plays.

What questions would I prefer? Five artists I like, Five ways I can help improve the world (or just my little corner of it), Five favorite books, Five favorite foods. So maybe in another entry I'll answer these questions.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Campfire Girl Bracelet

After scanning my Bluebird vest, I realized I still had my beaded bracelet. It's amazing it's still intact after all these years - about 40 years now.

I read on someone's blog about her stringing beads on a bracelet when she was a Campfire Girl. That reminded me of my days as a Bluebird, probably around 5th or 6th grade.

We made a vest using beads, felt, and badges. I don't remember what any of them represent anymore. The picture above in felt is my Indian (I think) name, but again, I don't remember what it is.

Okay, I did a little research and have come up with the meanings of the beads:

Elective Honors form the basis of Camp Fire work. These honors may be won in seven crafts, each craft being symbolized by a distinctively colored bead.

Home Craft--Flame colored honors, as fire has been the center of the home.

  • Health Craft--Red honors (red blood).

  • Camp Craft--Brown honors (woods).

  • Hand Craft--Green honors (creation, growing things).

  • Nature Lore--Blue honors (blue sky).

  • Business--Yellow honors (gold).

  • Patriotism--Red, white and blue honors. Since I grew up in an historic town, it was not hard to receive red, white, and blue honors. Every Patriot's Day, April 19th, our camp fire group would march in the parade on Mass. Ave to the Green. Anyone growing up in New England knows that the Green, or the Common, is the center of activity in a town. It is usually surrounded by churches and some of the original houses of the town. In Lexington, in addition to 3 churches, there is also an old tavern, the Belfry Tower (where the bell was rung), the statue of John Parker (the Minuteman) who famously said "Do not shoot until you see the white's of their (British)eyes," and a few other historic mementos.

My mother wrote and thinks my name was Wa Ta Ro. So far, I haven't discovered this meaning, but I'll keep trying.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The spiral stitch is my favorite one for beading. I love embellishing the stitch as well. I've posted two necklaces with flower pendants and one sampler. The sampler comes from components from a drawer I just throw all unfinished or sample pieces in. I combined a lot of those pieces into this sampler. It's actually a little too much to wear, but it was fun to put together all those bits and pieces and create something.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

a necklace

Now that I have learned how to scan, I scanned some of my favorite pieces and want to share them. This necklace is made from components from two Jeannette Cook classes. I love her use of color and her boldness. It's actually taken me a few years to design the necklace in a way I like - I've probably made half a dozen versions with different pieces from the classes. I believe (I hope)I'm finally happy with this combination.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I have more rivoli pieces I've beaded to show. There are several pairs of earrings, a couple of necklaces, and a bracelet. I see that on one of the earrings I scanned both sides the same way so you can't see the back. Oh, well...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I am addicted to rivolis. Last summer, in particular, they are all I beaded. Here is a necklace with jet rivolis. Each rivoli has a slightly different pattern. I made the peyote links from a pattern that I believe was in b&b. The colors I chose are my favorite palette, you will see them over and over in my work.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Now that I've finished my June journal piece, I'm posting a few other embroidered pieces that I've made. The bracelet on the left is from one of my favorite teachers, Gail Frederickson. She had us bead this bracelet by putting larger beads in place first, then beading around them.
The top next bracelet is from a Sherri Serafini class. It's not on the cuff yet, mainly because I can't find it, although I know it's somewhere around. It was made improvisationally by putting it over my wrist a lot and thinking how I would like it to look. The bottom piece is from a Laura McCabe class. The bracelet is on leather and almost entirely made of crystals. The button represents either the sun or the moon, either rising or setting, reflecting on water. I also designed this bracelet as I went along, although I had the idea in mind. I belong to the Great Lake Bead Guild, plus take classes at local bead stores. We have wonderful teachers come to our area, and I have been very lucky to take classes with them. I usually redo all my pieces from classes, because once I go home I have a better understanding of the construction, the teacher's intent, and how to use colors. Its taken me several years to become confident to do bead embroidery. I was so scared of it, like facing a blank canvas. But I'm getting more comfortable with it, and with my ability to do it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I started this doll about a year and half ago, and just finished her this week. Even though she's called "Joy" there's something not quite finished or settled about her. I think that's because I made her in memory of a friend who killed herself. She kept looking and hoping for joy, and although she loved her husband, children, and family, she felt such pain that she couldn't go on living. She was a dollmaker herself, and her favorite set was a mama doll with baby dolls from all over the world.

My friend adopted her two children from South America and she was a pediatrician. She loved children, and was so gentle and caring with them. She killed herself just as winter was turning to spring, and maybe the feeling I have about this doll is that she didn't quite make it to spring. Do you know the feeling you have when the gray of winter finally gives way to a warm breeze and bits of green pushing up through the earth? When darkness turns to light? It didn't happen for my friend. She never made it past the darkness.

Aspire Mandala

Aspire Mandala is my first one for the BJP. I beaded it on ultra-suede, and, as you can see, need to practice my tension. This mandala took about 2-3 hours a day for 2 weeks. I don't know if I can commit that kind of time every month, but something about the process is very stimulating and thought-provoking. Suddenly, I don't want to work on jewelry, but just want to embroider! This kind of work gets back to the inner-artist part of me that connects into something very deep. Like many of the other beaders in this project, I am overwhelmed by the ideas flowing through me for themes. Some nights I couldn't even fall asleep just thinking of possibilities. Are there really only 12 months in a year?

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Sea Quilt

Here is another quilt square I made for the Under the Sea quilt. Each square is 4" x 4".

Jason is 19 today

My son, Jason, on the right, is 19 today. Looking at this handsome young man, you would never guess that he was born 3 months prematurely. I always have said that he was so eager to experience life that he just couldn't wait. He's full of vitality, loves adventure, and hanging out with his older brother, Sam. He has a great big laugh and likes to laugh often. Jason just finished his freshman year at Michigan State Univ. and wants to be a geologist. Happy Birthday, Jason!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Too much of a challenge?

I hope I haven't committed myself to too large a challenge. I am beading a 6" diameter mandala, and it is a lot of work! I have drawn mandalas for many years and I decided to take advantage of the BJP to bead one...or twelve!
The mandala I'm starting with is called "Aspire." I'm starting with this one because a major goal I have for this year is to take care of my body for health reasons. I want to lose weight, get off high blood pressure meds and have more energy. I also would like fewer headaches and less depression. I'm thinking that I can use the BJP as a way of staying focused and maintaining motivation.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

A Beginning

I wanted to start my bead journal yesterday, at least a few stitches. I had already thought out an idea for the year and gathered beads for the first "page." After working for a few minutes, I realized I was beading on the wrong side of the fabric. My first inclination was to tear out the beads and turn the fabric over and start again. But after thinking about it, I realized that there is no right or wrong, good or bad. I also saw that the "wrong" side was the inside of the fabric, and since our feelings and thoughts come from within, that I had actually subconsciously beaded exactly where I needed to be. Beads always know exactly what to do, it's so amazing.

Monday, May 28, 2007

New England

I grew up in Massachusetts. Recently my husband and I took a trip back east. First, I visited my hometown, Lexington. I was fortunate to catch the end of a Fife and Drum parade with corps from all over New England. It immediately brought back memories from when I was growing up and marched in the Patriot's Day Parade as a Blue Bird. Next we went to Ogunquit, Maine, and spent a few beautiful days walking on the beach, listening to the water, and just relaxing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Treasure Chest

Treasure chest is a quilt square I made for a larger quilt called Under the Sea. A group of beaders made it for a friend who was doing a walk for Leukemia and needed to raise funds. We raffled off tickets and she raised over $2,000. I made 3 squares altogether. I will post more photos later.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Long-Term Committment

I've just committed to a year-long bead journal project, which will be embroidered, with Robin Atkins and 240 other people. Usually when I commit to a bead project, it's a one time effort, like making a bead square for a quilt, or making an item for a charity auction. This project, though, feels like it will be more personal and probably focus on issues in my life, although I can also see using it as an outlet for things going on in the world. So we'll see. For now, I'm thinking what kind of fabric I'm going to use, gathering beads, and how quickly June will be here. Please join me in my exploration of a beaded journal.